Prostate Cancer, Vitamin D, and Aleve
September 2, 2005
Subject: Aleve triples effectiveness of Vitamin D against prostate cancer
Yesterday an interesting article was published in the journal Cancer Research.
Researchers at Stanford University reported a combination of vitamin D and an over-the-counter painkiller halts the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Although their work was done with cells grown in the laboratory, the results were so promising that a trial of the treatment has been started with prostate cancer patients.
The trial used calcitriol, a form of vitamin D available only by prescription, and naproxen, sold over the counter as Aleve and other brand names.
The basic idea of the combined treatment is to increase the anti-cancer activity of vitamin D, which has been shown to have some effect in treating prostate and other cancers. David Feldman, the principle researcher of this study, has published prior studies to identify the genes which vitamin D acts on to inhibit cancer growth.
When the genes were identified, "two genes in the prostaglandin pathway popped up," Feldman said. Prostaglandins are hormones with a wide range of physical effects, including inflammation, and the two genes play a critical role in the production and breakdown of prostaglandins. So this trial looked at the effect of blocking prostaglandin production with the drug naproxen at the same time as giving vitamin D as calcitriol.
Calcitriol alone or naproxen alone did have some effect on prostate cancer cell cultures, reducing their growth by 25 percent. But when they combined calcitriol and an NSAID, they saw up to a 70 percent reduction. This result was obtained using from one-half to one-tenth the concentration required for either of the drugs used alone.
SOURCES: David Feldman, M.D., professor, medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.; Sandy Srinivas, assistant professor, medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.; Sept. 1, 2005 Cancer Research